Summit recently held in Doha on 21, 22 December 2002, approved
the application, from 1st January 2003, of a unified customs
tariff of 5% on goods imported to GCC countries. Customs duties
are presently charged by Member States at varying rates ranging
between 4 to 12%. In a step expected to consolidate the establishment
of a free trade area, the Summit further approved the cancellation
of customs imposed on the exchange of goods between GCC Member
reported that this decision was made to expand trade between
the GCC and the European Union, its major trading partner.
GCC was established in accordance with an agreement
concluded in 1981 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between: Bahrain,
Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi
Arabia and UAE. These countries
declared that the GCC is established in view
of the special relations between them, their similar political
systems based on Islamic beliefs, joint destiny and common
geographic proximity of the these countries and their general adoption
of free trade economic policies are factors that encouraged them
to establish the GCC.
objectives specified were the achievement and enhancement of coordination
in the different areas between the member countries and their
people and the adoption of similar systems in economic and financial
matters, commerce and customs, education and culture, social affairs
and health, information and tourism, legislation and administration,
science, technical, industrial, mining, agriculture, the establishment
of joint project in these areas and the encouragement of private
sector activities for the general benefit and welfare of their people.
1982 the GCC countries concluded the joint Economic Agreement granting
specific privileges and advantages to nationals of member countries
to perform economic and trading activities in other member countries.
This was followed by similar other agreements to encourage economic
relations, trade and practice of professions in the member countries.